WHAT IS IT?
This is a long term inflammatory disease of the digestive tract. It can affect any area starting from mouth going up till anus. Usually, the small intestine is affected the most.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
- Abdominal pain
- Intestinal ulcers
- Mouth ulcers
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Blood in stool
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES?
Crohn’s disease belongs to a group of diseases known as inflammatory bowel diseases. Both genetic as well as environmental factors play a combined role in causing these diseases. The end result is a hyperactive immune system that refuses to stop resulting in continuous damage to the intestinal wall. Your chances of getting the disease are increased if somebody in your family has it.
HOW DO I GET DIAGNOSED?
If your clinician suspects that you could be suffering from Crohn’s disease, he or she will write a few tests which include:
- Complete blood count to look for infection or anemia
- Stool examination for occult blood due to bleeding ulcers in intestine
- Serum antibodies to detect the hyperactive immune system
- X-Ray to look for intestinal narrowing and blockage
- Colonoscopy to visualize ulcers in the intestine
- Endoscopic Ultrasound to look for fistula in rectum
COMPLICATIONS OF CROHN’S DISEASE
- Intestinal obstruction and perforation
- Ulcer and abscess formation
- Malnutrition – as the intestine fails to absorb nutrients and minerals due to damaged lining.
HOW DO I DEAL WITH IT?
Dealing with Crohn’ s disease is not an easy task as it is a lifelong disease with no permanent cure. The treatment targets at keeping inflammation at minimum levels and prevent any flare ups. Drugs given include anti inflammatory medication comprising aminosalicylates, steroids and immunomodulators. Antibiotics may be given in case of coexisting infection.
Little changes in diet can also help in preventing flare ups. Eat smaller meals at frequent intervals and avoid fried foods. Avoid dairy products and high fiber foods like nuts and seeds.
Most people do not seek medical help from their health